Many carers experience financial difficulty as a result of caring. This can be due to loss of earnings or the additional costs that caring may involve. However, there are government benefits that carers, or the people they care for, may be entitled to claim. One of our Adult Support Workers can help you with making enquiries. The following is a brief outline of some of the benefits that may be available to you.
Carers Direct Payments
Direct Payments are cash payments made to individuals who are assessed as needing help from Social Services. These one-off payments are means tested, and can be applied for as a result of a Carers Assessment. They can be spent on whatever the carer is assessed as needing to help them with their caring role. Solihull Carers Centre, as well as Social Services, is able to carry out these assessments.
You can claim Carers Allowance if you care for someone for more than 35 hours a week who is aged 16 or over. You must earn less than £100 per week after tax and national insurance and the person you care for must receive either; Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance at the middle or higher rate.
Carers Allowance can now be claimed online through a new digital service launched by the Government. The new service allows carers to make an electronic claim for carers allowance and to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of any changes to your circumstances.
This service has been developed alongside organisations that support carers and it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is more guidance on the new system and eligibility questions are now asked at the start of the service, allowing people to understand whether or not they may be entitled to the benefit. The service also includes help screens and a Helpdesk service, fewer questions and it can be accessed by smart phones and tablets as well as computers.
To access this service and make a claim for Carers Allowance go to https://www.gov.uk/apply-carers-allowance
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Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
You can only make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance if you’re claiming for a child under 16. If you are caring for someone over 16 and making a new claim you must apply for Person Independence payment (PIP).
PIP is gradually replacing DLA for people aged 16-64. The DLA probably won’t be affected until 2015 or later but there are exceptions. To find out if and when you’re affected by the changes use the PIP checker at https://www.gov.uk/pip-checker
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
This benefit helps with the extra costs caused by long term ill-health or a disability if the person you care for is aged 16-64. PIP is paid at different rates depending on how the condition affects the person you care for, not the condition itself. To work this out the person you care for will need to have an assessment.
Attendance Allowance (AA)
This is a tax free and non means tested benefit for people aged 65 and over who need help with personal care or supervision as a result of illness or disability. This benefit is paid at two different rates depending on the level of care needed.
lndustrial lnjuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)
This may be payable if the illness or disability was caused by work or working conditions e.g. exposure to asbestos, lung disease, sight or hearing loss. This may also be payable if the disability is the result of an accident at work or whilst on an approved training course.
Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
Pension Credit is a tax free, income related benefit that can be topped up by Guarantee Credit. This means that your state pension can be topped up. To apply for this benefit you must be 65 or over if you are female and 66 or over if you are male and you must be living in Great Britain.